Microbial Ecology

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 919–930 | Cite as

A New Insight into Allelopathic Effects of Alexandrium minutum on Photosynthesis and Respiration of the Diatom Chaetoceros neogracile Revealed by Photosynthetic-performance Analysis and Flow Cytometry

  • Aurélie Lelong
  • Hansy Haberkorn
  • Nelly Le Goïc
  • Hélène Hégaret
  • Philippe SoudantEmail author
Microbiology of Aquatic Systems


The allelopathic effects of Alexandrium minutum, a toxic dinoflagellate, on the diatom Chaetoceros neogracile were evaluated using unialgal cultures evaluated by flow cytometry (FCM) and photosynthetic-performance analysis. Using FCM, we demonstrated that red chlorophyll fluorescence, relative cell size (Forward scatter of blue laser light, FSC) and cell complexity (Side scatter, 90°-angle scatter of blue laser light, SSC) significantly and rapidly decreased in C. neogracile cells exposed to A. minutum. Cells of C. neogracile exposed to A. minutum had fewer active photosynthetic reaction centers and sharply decreased photosynthetic efficiency. These effects were intensified with advancing A. minutum batch culture age and cell density. The supernatant of A. minutum contained the majority of the putative allelopathic compounds, and the biological activity of these compounds remained active less than 9 h after release. This paper describes for the first time specific effects of allelochemicals produced by A. minutum on the photosynthetic apparatus of microalgal target cells. The biochemical composition of A. minutum allelopathic agents, however, remains unknown and still needs to be investigated.


Dinoflagellate Allelopathic Effect Allelopathic Activity Allelopathic Compound Allelopathic Interaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Isabelle Queau for providing the C. neogracile strain and Gary Wikfors for his constructive comments and English corrections. This study was supported by the French “Ministère de l’Education Nationale, de la Recherche et de la Technologie” (MENRT grant). The authors also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their help in improving this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurélie Lelong
    • 1
  • Hansy Haberkorn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nelly Le Goïc
    • 1
  • Hélène Hégaret
    • 1
  • Philippe Soudant
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratoire des sciences de l’environnement marin (LEMAR), UMR6539Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM)PlouzanéFrance
  2. 2.IFREMER, Département Environnement, Microbiologie et PhycotoxinesNantes Cedex 03France

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